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Science

Thousands of Blackbirds Fall From Sky Dead 577

Posted by samzenpus
from the silent-spring dept.
Dan East writes "In a fashion worthy of a King or Hitchcock novel, blackbirds began to fall from the sky dead in Arkansas yesterday. Somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 birds rained down on the small town of Beeb, Arkansas, with no visible trauma. Officials are making wild guesses as to what happened — lightning strike, high-altitude hail, or perhaps trauma from the sound of New Year's fireworks killed them."

+ - Wikileaks.org unavailable after DNS Removal

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "According to their twitter, It appears that Wikileak's DNS provider has dropped them, making the name wikileaks.org unavailable."
Space

Earth-Like Planet That Could Sustain Life Found 575

Posted by samzenpus
from the guess-who's-coming-to-dinner dept.
astroengine writes "An exoplanet, 20 to 50 percent the mass of Earth, has been discovered 20 light-years away and it appears to have all the ingredients conducive to sustaining life. It has enough gravitational clout to hold onto an atmosphere and it orbits well within the 'Goldilocks Zone' of its parent star. However, it would be a very different place to Earth; it is tidally locked to its star, creating one perpetual day on the world. Interestingly, this may also boost the life-giving qualities of the exoplanet, creating stable temperatures in its atmosphere."
Medicine

High Fructose Corn Syrup To Get a Makeover 646

Posted by samzenpus
from the same-great-taste dept.
An anonymous reader writes "With its sweetener linked to obesity, some cancers and diabetes, the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) doesn't want you to think 'fructose' when you see high fructose corn syrup in your soda, ketchup or pickles. Instead, the AP reports, the CRA submitted an application to the FDA, hoping to change the name of their top-selling product to 'corn sugar.'"
Image

Police Publish 'An Introduction To PEDO BEAR' 324

Posted by samzenpus
from the please-stop-getting-older dept.
According to this article, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department knows that Pedobear is an Internet joke, but that hasn't stopped them from trying to warn the public about him. Their most recent tool in the fight against internet memes is this public safety information bulletin entitled: "An Introduction to PEDO BEAR." I look forward to the bulletin warning parents about the dangers of children playing in Chocolate Rain.
Image

You're Never More Than 115 Miles From McDonald's 55

Posted by samzenpus
from the 2-hours-until-delicious dept.
There is some bad news for McNugget lovers. Thanks to a store closure in northeastern California, you can now be as far 115 miles from a McDonald's in the contiguous United States. The new "McFarthest" spot is in northwest Nevada, replacing the previous in South Dakota by eight heart-pounding, artery-clogged miles.
Education

Louisiana, Intelligent Design, and Science Classes 989

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the oil-already-seeped-into-brain dept.
rollcall writes "The Livingston, Louisiana public school district is considering introducing intelligent design into its science curriculum. During the board's meeting Thursday, several board members expressed an interest in the teaching of creationism. 'Benton said that under provisions of the Science Education Act enacted last year by the Louisiana Legislature, schools can present what she termed "critical thinking and creationism" in science classes. Board Member David Tate quickly responded: "We let them teach evolution to our children, but I think all of us sitting up here on this School Board believe in creationism. Why can't we get someone with religious beliefs to teach creationism?" Fellow board member Clint Mitchell responded, "I agree...you don't have to be afraid to point out some of the fallacies with the theory of evolution. Teachers should have the freedom to look at creationism and find a way to get it into the classroom."'"
Mars

New Evidence Presented For Ancient Fossils In Mars Rocks 91

Posted by Soulskill
from the hope-the-protectors-leave-them-alone dept.
azoblue passes along a story in the Washington Post, which begins: "NASA's Mars Meteorite Research Team reopened a 14-year-old controversy on extraterrestrial life last week, reaffirming and offering support for its widely challenged assertion that a 4-billion-year-old meteorite that landed thousands of years ago on Antarctica shows evidence of microscopic life on Mars. In addition to presenting research that they said disproved some of their critics, the scientists reported that additional Martian meteorites appear to house distinct and identifiable microbial fossils that point even more strongly to the existence of life. 'We feel more confident than ever that Mars probably once was, and maybe still is, home to life,' team leader David McKay said at a NASA-sponsored conference on astrobiology."
Government

US Intelligence Planned To Destroy WikiLeaks 555

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the how's-that-working-out-for-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes "This document is a classified (SECRET/NOFORN), 32-page US counterintelligence investigation into WikiLeaks (PDF). 'The possibility that current employees or moles within DoD or elsewhere in the US government are providing sensitive or classified information to Wikileaks.org cannot be ruled out.' It concocts a plan to fatally marginalize the organization. Since WikiLeaks uses 'trust as a center of gravity by protecting the anonymity and identity of the insiders, leakers or whistleblowers,' the report recommends 'The identification, exposure, termination of employment, criminal prosecution, legal action against current or former insiders, leakers, or whistleblowers could potentially damage or destroy this center of gravity and deter others considering similar actions from using the Wikileaks.org Web site.' [As two years have passed since the date of the report, with no WikiLeaks' source exposed, it appears that this plan was ineffective.] As an odd justification for the plan, the report claims that 'Several foreign countries including China, Israel, North Korea, Russia, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe have denounced or blocked access to the Wikileaks.org website.' The report provides further justification by enumerating embarrassing stories broken by WikiLeaks — US equipment expenditure in Iraq, probable US violations of the Chemical Warfare Convention Treaty in Iraq, the battle over the Iraqi town of Fallujah and human rights violations at Guantanamo Bay."
Transportation

+ - GPS Log Analysis Uncovers New York City Taxi Scam

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens
Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission is using GPS data collected in every cab to review millions of trips in New York City over the past 26 months and has discovered a huge number in which out-of-city rates, twice the rate charged for rides in the five boroughs, were improperly charged. The drivers’ scheme, the commission says, involved 1.8 million rides and cost passengers an average of $4 to $5 extra per trip when drivers flipped switches on their meters that kicked in the higher rates, costing New York City riders a total of $8.3 million. Cab drivers are supposed to charge the higher rate only when they cross the border between New York City and Nassau or Westchester. “We have not seen anything quite this pervasive,” said Matthew W. Daus, the taxi and limousine commissioner. “It’s very disturbing.” The taxi industry vigorously challenged the city’s findings, saying it was unimaginable that such a pervasive problem could be the result of deliberate fraud. The commission says that 75% out of the city’s 48,000 drivers had applied the higher rate at least once. Several cabbies defended themselves and their colleagues and said it was easy to accidentally activate the higher rate because of the way the meters were designed and expressed dismay at the city’s findings, which they said threatened to tarnish the image of their industry. “We are ashamed,” says cabbie Bagicha Singh. “People will look at us as a thief.” Officials hope to roll out a short-term fix in two or three weeks in which an alert will appear on the backseat monitor when a cabbie activates the out-of-town rate."
Apple

+ - Apple loses "i" Trademark case-> 1

Submitted by CuteSteveJobs
CuteSteveJobs (1343851) writes "Apple has been dealt a severe blow having been told that it no longer has a monopoly on the letter "i" for product naming. IP Australia, the government body that oversees trademark applications, rejected Apples' complaint against a company selling "DOPi" laptop bags. Last year Australian computer company Macpro Computers claimed that after 26 years of flying its own Macpro brand that Apple was "trying to burn us out" with legal fees. This was after Apple released its own Macpro line 3½ years ago. Apple lost that complaint, but is appealing. Last year Apple went after supermarket Woolworths complaining their new logo which featured a "W" fashioned into the shape of an apple. Woolworths sells real apples.

Are Apple's overzealous lawyers risking the company's goodwill by pursing so many frivolous cases? Could there be a backlash that would see Apple still profitable but as unpopular as Microsoft? Should iNTEL be worried?"

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"I have more information in one place than anybody in the world." -- Jerry Pournelle, an absurd notion, apparently about the BIX BBS

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